Thursday 20 DECEMBER 2012

Tackle specials and angling politics

from Downrigger Shop

G’day lads,

Matt Reid from Raptor Charters is the bloke you need in Sydney Harbour if you want to catch your first – or hundredth – kingfish. So when he asked me on a run last Friday I couldn’t say yes fast enough. Also aboard was Ian Treseder, from Hooked On Sydney:

We launched at Cammeray and headed straight round to Chinaman’s Beach, in front of the huge crane. Bait marked well:

It didn’t take long for the tank to fill:

I was still getting over losing the biggest Harbour kingfish I’d hooked in years, the day before. So we kicked off downrigging at Nielsen Park, the scene of the action:

But after an hour with no strikes and nothing on the sounder, it was obvious the kingies had moved on:

Off to Long Reef, intending to be established before the high tide. The plan was one that’s worked well for us. Downrig one big live bait and one small live bait, and as soon as possible after a strike drop down a jig, or work a popper. That worked a treat:

Ian hooks up:

We got about 20 kingfish during the morning session:

Mostly undersized, but the better ones up to 85cm:

Ian got some great video for our next DVD too. Check this out, brilliant work, only 1 minute 40:

Thanks to Matt and Ian for a great morning’s fishing and I’m up for that whenever you’ve got a spot available.  The next day – Saturday - was the first of our annual downrigger clinics. Something I do this time every year, taking out new downrigger owners or those who are having trouble getting the hang of their unit and hopefully, showing them how it all works. There’s no charge so they are usually pretty popular, but half the time I get a bigger kick out of watching people catch their first king than I do, getting one myself. Anyway, Scrat Rat kindly volunteered to be deckie and arrived bright and early in the morning. We hooked up the boat trailer, did a 3-point turn, and CLUNK! Tore the stub off the axle.



Thankfully all sorted, managed to get a marina berth for January.

Great pic, in this months’ Fish Life magazine. Bloke fishing up north for barra, a pistol in his hip pocket.


Better safe than sorry, in croc country.

 Rocket sent in a pic of his big teraglin from Forster:



Gidday Andrew just a quick thank-you from Gina and myself for the experience today around Sydney's waterways lots a fun we are so looking forward to spending that day at long reef in the near future . Your readers may enjoy these couple of pics for the next news letter cheers all the best Rocket


Not at all champ, I enjoyed it enormously.

Rocket’s fishing mate Gina sent a pic of her solid northern blue from the Whitsundays:



Thank-you for the information, demos etc, it was nice just to be out there with someone who knew the area, even if the Kingies didn't want to play, I would love to have the opportunity to join you again, photos from our epic trip!


Don’t even mention it, I really enjoyed the day.

Mick has been working on his own range of large SPs. Begging him to go into full production, but he’s a busy man:



Hi andrew i finally got around to doing a mould to reproduce soft plastic, here is the outcome


Mate, we need those for this summer! See what you can fit into your busy schedule?

Markus from Germany bought some carbontex, then sent in some pictures of the monster carp he and his buddies catch over there. These are gigantic:






Amazing, Markus.

Andrew W is a thinking fisho, who’s been using his camping light to attract squid:



… the red is an onion bag with burley in it, had heaps of little salmon buzzing around it, yes that's my squid bait in the light, I had a good one to the surface right in the light, but the jig didn't pin him well enough. I was impressed with the penetration into the water, it's a good metre away from the surface to the jetty


Righto Andy, you’ve inspired me.

Will give that a go off Clifton Gardens wharf over the holidays, using our camping light:

The fishing at Jervis Bay has picked up enormously over the last few weeks, as Dave has informed us. Now some bloke’s caught a stonker bream in his own back yard:

What you can catch when you live up the creek!!! Wazza’s property backs onto Currumbene creek at Woollamia. He was playing around in his backyard the other evening, and dragged in this 45cm bream. We are working on an invite to his next Bqu . We will take drinks, snags, and fishing rods. Regards from down south, Dave and Kate

Good move. If you’re looking for someone to help out on the tongs, give me a buzz Dave J

Fitz is pleased as punch with his new purchase, a Melonseed rowing boat from the USA. She has a beautiful profile:



When I was a lad, I worked on a commercial net boat, I did a lot of rowing then, still love it, so I am going to fit the down rigger on the boat and see what happens.


Good O Fitz, that’s a work of art.

From the Wacky Things Happen Offshore Dept, Peter G has an encounter of the feathered kind:



This one would not let go and it took us 5 minutes to shake it off the lure including a few dunks in the water....and it was not even hooked … and it took the lure down at 7m off long reef.


Sheesh. At least it wasn’t an albatross. He also had a pretty amazing pic of the boat shown in the report from two weeks ago.

The one that went up on a rock at Broughton Island:



Andy, here is a photo of the damage to the hull on that Noble boat that hit the rocks.  There was actually very little damage for someone that hit the rocks at 20 plus knots


Impressive! Those Nobles are tough, Pete.

More mayhem, at Port Stephens. Bruce Vaughan:

I know you love photos of boat carnage so here are some pics for you.

My boat is stored in dry storage, which you kind of expect to be pretty safe. However when mother nature unleashes herself there is b+gger all you can do. A couple of weeks ago we had a twister come through the Western end of Port Stephens.  One of the boats in the yard recorded wind speeds of 180Knts before the wind gauge was ripped off the boat.



Several boats were thrown off their stands. I was lucky mine was full of fuel and water, which is probably what saved me. The guy next door to me was not so lucky.


That’s horrible, Bruce!


the sad this is that my boat was only 3 boats down from that one, I wouldn't of complained if it fell off and broke in half atm with the problems I'm having with mine lol.


He he he. Sydney’s keenest kingfish chaser Mev was fed up with his old boat. So he went and bought a new one:

Our boat had holes all over and the bilge pump works overtime to keep the water out lol. On Saturday the bilge stopped working so we had to rush back to the ramp before we sunk, so we had the s**s and purchased a new boat together with Fred. Picked it up yesterday from Batemans Bay. Attached is the pic.


Mate you could barely make a better choice, in that size range. Nice rig, looking forward to seeing what she produces this summer.

Peter G sends in pics of a small one:



The smallest kingfish EVER on Ed's boat off longie last week.  They were in plague proportions which is a good sign for later in the season


Exactly, Pete.

Chris Sun sent in some pics of a big one:


Yellowtail hasn’t been overly successful on the kings. I don’t bother downrigging them, because the hit rate has been about 1-10 compared to freshly caught squid. What I’ve been doing instead, is downrigging 2 squid on the downriggers and leaving a live yellowtail on the surface hooked up with a 6/0 gamakatsu octopus, 40lb fluoro trace, on a light flick stick. I’ve been getting nice big squid and salmon on the surface yakka


Good advice Chris and thanks for sending.

Hornsby Seafood had some fresh garfish this week, the first time in ages they've been available. Cryovaced some up for a run next week, plan to use them with Head Starts:

Nice Bar Crusher 680 at Roseville on Saturday. Owner Richard very pleased with his new rig:


Maybe 20 years ago we fished out of Sydney Harbour, first thing on New Year’s Day. Rounding North Head we saw yobbos had chucked the Porta-Potties set up for the New Year’s Eve fireworks crowd over the cliff, to be smashed on the rocks three hundred feet below. Would you believe remnants are still there? The green plastic is part of the dunnies, the metal frame probably is too:

To politics, and it’s been all boat ramps all the time. I attended the Parliamentary Inquiry into Land Management held here in NSW two weeks ago and locked horns with Greens MP, Cate Faehrmann. Eventually the Chairman had to separate us, but while it lasted I had a ball. J Transcript attached to this email and as I’ve said so often if anyone has a story to tell, let’s hear it. Aggravation, congestion and even confrontation on the boat ramp, it is only by documenting it and circulating stories to the media that we will get anything accomplished.


If you see something at the ramp, take a pic and email it to me? I will keep your contribution 100% confidential, if that’s the way you want it. But don’t sit on the fence my friends, if you want something to change, you have to be a part of the solution. Here in Sydney we have our boat ramp troubles but they’re not much compared with what’s happening at South West Rocks. For some reason – and maybe now is not the time to air my theory as to why – this hyper-popular fishing spot on the mid north coast has been bedevilled with parkies, greenies, and various red-tape busy bodies to an incredible degree.


By far the worst issue – because sooner or later someone will be killed – is the Laggers Point boat ramp, on the eastern side of Trial Bay. This boat ramp provides safe and easy launching for small boats directly into the ocean. And although somewhat shallow, is well constructed and maintained. Unfortunately it is managed by the New South Wales National Parks & Wildlife Service who have taken it upon themselves to arbitrarily shut the ramp at the busiest times of the year. This means visiting boaties are forced to launch in the river and cross the notorious Macleay bar, aka the Widowmaker:

Ever vigilant Les from South-West Rocks writes:


The Trial Bay Marine Rescue declare that Laggers Point boat ramp is the safest option for rescue, launch and retrieval and they hold the keys to the boat ramp for any such incident regardless of whether it's holiday time or not and they don't need the consent from NPWS to access the ramp. If they declare that Laggers Point (the Gaol) boat ramp is the safest option then wouldn't that be enough presentable proof that it should remain accessible to ALL users rather than have boaties risk tackling the treacherous Macleay River bar?

The boaties who have lost their boats in the past due to being forced to use the Macleay River bar in rough dangerous conditions should be able to successfully launch a class action for damage and loss against NPWS.

If the Recreational Fishing Fee Trust didn't have any problem giving NSW Fisheries almost $500,000.00 of OUR money to conduct research with the view to successfully kick us recreational fishermen out of Fish Rock and Green Island, then why can't the same Recreational Fishing Fee Trust use some of OUR money in a positive way like creating a wider car park and better access. Let's face it, $500,000.00 per year over a couple of years spent at Laggers Point (and other boat ramps) would go a long way to solving some of these issues and it would be recreational fishing fees being put to good use, rather than being spent to create a case to ban fishermen from accessing natural resources like our fishing grounds?


Your points are unarguable, Les. But NPWS Hurstville have never admitted a mistake, and they’re not about to start now. What’s needed is photos, video, names (of parkies closing the Laggers Point ramp), news clippings, anything to do with boat rollovers or close calls on the Macleay bar. When the inevitable tragedy happens, then we can take action and name names.

To Les and all our readers and especially contributors, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart. Deeply grateful for your pics, reports and opinions, and looking forward to a bigger and better 2013. Merry Christmas to you and yours,


 Andrew Hestelow